Hair Like Wire? Sounds... Pretty.

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"If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head" (Shakespeare).

I laughed when I read this particular line.  Since it didn't seem like Shakespeare was positively describing the woman, I imagined metal wires used in electronics growing out of her head.   The image was a hideous but funny image to me.  However, I read that golden wire was used to describe a woman's hair in Elizabethan poetry.  Back then maybe it was a complement to have hair like wires, but now it is gross.  There is such a big difference in meanings, and because of this interpretations, between then and now.


Stephanie Wytovich said:

I'm really glad that you looked up the whole "wires for hair thing" because I didn't understand that at ALL! Thankfully, it makes a lot more sense now. It's weird to see the different meanings and intepretations of time periods.

Jeanine O'Neal said:

The point he was trying to make is that her hair is much darker than many women of the time. I'm pretty sure I'm way off as far as time goes, but think about the queens and royalty and such. They all wore wigs that were very light colors. So perhaps women with natural, dark colors were associated with the poor. Then he could be saying to her, I love you even though you are poor, because I would rather have a natural, poor woman than a fake, rich woman.

Angelica Guzzo said:

haha i guess that is gross to refer to a woman's hair as wire. It can be hard to understand the different interpretations.

Erica Gearhart said:

I thought this was really odd when I read it in the sonnet, and even more odd when I read it in the notes. Wire would not be the first thing that I would compare hair to, and definitely not golden wire. What would golden wire have been used for then anyway?

Deana Kubat said:

no matter what the black wires were, that part still made me think the same thing about the black electrical wires. it may have been the way to describe it back then, but when we the people of the 21st century read it, it just sounds a little funny.

Tamara Alvarez said:

I was actually disappointed to find out that he was probably talking about golden hair, because Ive always thought his mistress was a beautiful woman from a different ethnic group. I loved this idea, and saw wire as describing the strong, rich and curly locks often seen in women of my own Latino heritage. Reading this sonnet for the first time at the age of 12, made it resonate more personally and romantically to me.

Kaitlin Monier said:

Everyone interprets poetry differently. I like your interpretation better than the more widely accepted one. Keep reading it the way you did when you were 12!

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